I have one really irrational fear. I can’t really explain where it came from, but I do have some theories. Let me set it up for you.
I work at a coffee shop. I am a shift lead and, therefore, a key holder. I am an opener. I wake up at 4am to get to work by 6am to have the store customer-ready by 7am. I walk dark NYC streets and ride the subway with people still drunk from the night before. Neither of those things seriously worry me.
I arrive at my store first – always. I unlock the door, slip in, lock the door, and scuttle to the alarm and disarm it. It’s 5:45am, I have almost no caffeine in my system, most likely five or less hours of sleep, and I am in a dark coffee shop. Alone. Still, not really freaked out.
I turn some of the lights, punch in on the time clock, and get started setting up. Maybe I make myself an espresso drink when the machine has finished heating up. My coworker shows up and starts putting out benches.
Suddenly, nature calls. I have to pee.
I turn to the bathroom and anxiety grips me.
The bathroom key is hanging from the doorknob and I know my coworker isn’t in there. I may or may not be able to see a strip of light underneath the door. There is no one in there. Night crew checks the store before they lock up. I know there is no one in there.
I am completely convinced there is a dead body in there.
I am going to open the door and there is going to be a bloody, mangled corpse on the floor. Or it’s going to be a crumpled, foul-smelling body with a needle poking out of its arm and a glassy, bloodshot stare. Or just a body. No indication of how they died, just lying in a heap in the middle of the bathroom.
My heart rate picks up
What if it’s not a dead body? What if there is a murderer crouched on the other side of that door, clutching a knife or gun? There could be a violent person in there who has just suffered a psychotic break from reality and believes he/she/ze is protecting his/her/hir home. It could be dark in there and when I turn on the light someone could be crouched near the toilet watching me.
I really don’t want to open the door. I know I can hold it until my coworker uses the bathroom first, but I am shift lead. If there is a dead body or ax murderer in the bathroom I should be the one to face it.
I take a deep breath, turn the key, and pull open the door.
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